I’ve always been wary of insurance companies. I have almost zero trust in them. So, when I stumbled across members of our South East Asia Backpacker Community singing the praises of SafetyWing, I was keen to find out what it was that made them so popular.
It all came down to one thing, flexibility.
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Related: (links open in a new tab)
- The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers
- When To Buy Travel Insurance
- Trip Planning for Southeast Asia
Even if you have no plans and no specific end date for your trip, SafetyWing can cover you for the duration. Their Nomad Insurance works as a subscription service which you can simply pause or cancel whenever you stop travelling!
This type of adaptable insurance proves very attractive for free-spirited backpackers, long-term travellers and digital nomads. It means you can change plans, travel extensively and not have to worry about getting screwed over by a maximum trip length clause buried deep within the small print!
But is SafetyWing coverage as good as other backpacker travel insurers?
SafetyWing Pros and Cons
- Good value for money
- Covers almost the entire world
- Can get insured while already on the road
- Basic coverage
- Expensive items not fully covered
- Doesn't cover mental illness, pre-existing medical conditions or STDs
- No cover for travellers over 70
- Visiting the USA adds significant additional cost
SafetyWing at a Glance
Cost of SafetyWing Travel Insurance
SafetyWing are one of the most affordable travel insurers for backpackers and digital nomads. Their Nomad policy costs $42 USD for 28 days cover if you’re aged 18-39. However, the price goes up for older age groups.
This is a rolling plan so every 4 weeks your cover will auto-renew. It means you don’t have to know exactly when your trip will start or finish, unlike with most travel insurance providers.
When your trip is over, simply log into your SafetyWing account and click the “Stop Insurance” button.
What’s Covered by SafetyWing and What’s Not
|Covered by SafetyWing||Not Covered by SafetyWing|
|Basic Medical Cover – Emergency Treatments etc.||Electronics|
|Basic Travel Cover – Delays, Lost Luggage, etc||Pre-Existing Medical Conditions|
|Visits Home||Cancer Treatment|
|Use of Mopeds and Scooters||Muay Thai Training|
|Pandemics (inc. COVID-19)||Sexually Transmitted Diseases|
This is a very quick overview of the cover offered by SafetyWing. For more information keep reading!
SafetyWing – A Deep Dive
SafetyWing was founded by three digital nomads who were fed up with constantly fighting to get insurance without a fixed abode. They soon realised there must be a better way.
SafetyWing introduced a new way of doing travel insurance. Initially built for digital nomads, it didn’t take long for backpackers and long-term travellers to flock towards this innovative brand.
With a rolling monthly policy, coverage in almost every country and a willingness to insure you if you’re already travelling, SafetyWing is a breath of fresh air for an industry that’s been stagnant for years!
10 Reasons Our Readers Choose SafetyWing
1. No End Date Required
SafetyWing don’t require you to know the exact dates you’ll be travelling. Their insurance works more like a subscription service. Every 28 days you’ll be billed for the month and your cover is ongoing until you cancel it. When your trip is over, simply log into your account and stop the payments.
2. You Don’t Need to Tell Them Exactly Where You Are Going
SafetyWing know itineraries are fickle and travel plans change. They just need to know the first country you plan to visit on your trip, after that, they don’t need to know unless you make a claim!
SafetyWing recommend letting them know exactly where you’re going in case you need proof of insurance to get a visa but it’s not mandatory.
3. You Can Buy Insurance After Your Trip Has Started
As a rule, general travel insurance companies will not insure you if you are already on the road. Even if you find one that will, they will make sure they are making their money out of you! I was once quoted $600 USD for a two-week insurance policy to get me through to the end of a trip. The coverage for the eight-month trip up until that point had cost $500 USD…
SafetyWing make it easy to get insured on the road and the costs are exactly the same!
4. They Cover Your Visits Home
Most insurers have stipulations written into their policy that nullifies the coverage as soon as you return to your home country. SafetyWing not only allow you to visit home without invalidating the insurance, they also cover you while you’re at home!
Some conditions apply to the home cover, be sure to read your policy wording!
5. Simple, Good-Value Pricing
No matter where, when or how you’re travelling, SafetyWing make their pricing structure easy to understand. The only factors they take into account are your age and whether you’ll be visiting the USA.
6. They’re Good for Families
SafetyWing aren’t only for backpackers and digital nomads. They’re also great for travelling families. One child under 10 can be included with each adult policy free of charge (up to two children per family). Any more children under 10 will need to be added to the policy in the same way as an adult.
7. They Cover Your Classic Backpacker Activities
SafetyWing offer cover for diving, riding a scooter or motorcycle (but only if you’re licensed to ride a motorcycle in your home country) and even tackling Bolivia’s infamous Death Road. This means you can get on with your travels without constantly worrying about whether you’re insured!
Of course, it’s always worth confirming with SafetyWing themselves if you’re concerned about whether you’re covered for a specific activity.
8. They Offer Pandemic Cover
Until 2020, most of us hadn’t even considered that we might need pandemic cover. Or even knew that it isn’t included as standard with most travel insurance.
After COVID-19 hit the news and changed the face of travel, SafetyWing stepped up and now offer COVID-19 cover as a part of their Nomad policy.
9. They Offer Political Evacuation
Some of the most popular countries for backpackers are known to be a little unstable at times. When $h!t hits the fan, SafetyWing are there to make sure you can get to a safer destination!
You only have to look at past events in Peru, Myanmar, Venezuela, Colombia and even Thailand to realise you never know what might happen while you’re travelling – having a way out is always a good idea!
10. They’re Easy to Contact
It shouldn’t really be a selling point but if you’ve ever tried contacting a traditional insurance company, you’ll know they’re not always keen to get back to you! SafetyWing have a dedicated 24/7 team available to help you with whatever you need!
What Do SafetyWing Cover and What’s Not Covered?
I know it’s boring but you really should read the description of coverage before buying travel insurance. You’ll be amazed at how many ways your insurer will worm their way out of parting with cash.
For example, SafetyWing will not cover you for kidnapping unless you have, to the best of your ability, kept the existence of your insurance policy a secret.
Not gonna lie, if I get kidnapped and am asked if I have insurance, I’ll be singing like a canary. And in the process, I’ll be invalidating my insurance and therefore any ransom they would’ve paid for my freedom.
This isn’t specifically SafetyWing mugging you off though, it’s very normal for travel insurers to have exclusions like this, which is why it’s so important to understand what you are paying for before buying your insurance!
“The breach would likely only come into play if there is an explicit connection between the incident and the insured ignoring the confidentiality requirement, like posting on Twitter: ‘I just bought kidnap and ransom insurance.'”
In General, SafetyWing Cover:
Basic Medical Cover
SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance covers you if you fall ill or have an accident while travelling. This is assuming it wasn’t sustained during a high-risk activity, isn’t due to a pre-existing medical condition* and isn’t a cancer treatment.
*If you suffer from an acute onset of a pre-existing medical condition while travelling then you WILL be covered for treatment but only under certain circumstances.
Your emergency transportation to a hospital, nursing, treatment and room costs are all included in your cover. You’ll also be covered for emergency dental treatment up to $1000 USD in value.
As well as medical coverage, SafetyWing protect you financially from travel-related issues such as delays exceeding 12 hours and unplanned overnight stays. Emergency evacuation due to natural disasters or political situations is covered too, with a few exceptions.
SafetyWing cover you when visiting home. This cover is only valid for 30 days every three months. Essentially, you can visit home for a one-month period once every three months and not have to worry about getting extra cover. If you are from the United States, this cover is only valid for 15 days every three months.
One child under ten can be included with each adult policy. It’s worth noting that you can only add two children under ten per family. Any more and you’ll need to pay for their policy as you would an adult.
Mopeds and Scooters
The good news for backpackers is that moped use is covered by SafetyWing.* However, to avoid invalidating your insurance, you need to be properly licensed and have the correct paperwork to ride a motorcycle – and not be intoxicated. Obviously…
*SafetyWing will only cover your medical expenses should you be hurt in an accident. There is no liability insurance offered!
SafetyWing Do Not Cover:
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
SafetyWing do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. If you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition, SafetyWing will still offer you cover but they will not pay out for any complications with your ongoing condition.
If you have “acute onset” of your condition and seek treatment within 24 hours, you can claim for that treatment but make sure you understand the policy wording on this front!
SafetyWing will not cover cancer treatments either at home or abroad.
There are A LOT of activities not covered by SafetyWing, for a full list check the description of coverage (activities are on page 25) but some of the more notable ones for backpackers are:
- Cliff jumping
- Boxing and martial arts (including Muay Thai)
- Mountaineering/hiking/camping/cycling at elevations of 4,500 meters or higher
- Whitewater rafting
They also don’t cover jousting but unless you are time travelling to the 1300s to hang out with Heath Ledger, you probably don’t need to worry about that one!
SafetyWing will not cover you for mental health conditions.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
SafetyWing do not cover any form of sexually transmitted diseases or infection.
Countries Not Covered
SafetyWing covers almost every country in the world with just a few exceptions. There is no cover in Iran or North Korea and for most people, no cover for Cuba.
You will also not be covered for kidnapping or express kidnapping in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, or any country facing severe sanctions from the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The countries listed above can change without notice. It’s always worth contacting SafetyWing directly to get the most up-to-date information.
There are a bunch of other exclusions in the description of coverage – make sure you read it properly!
How to Make a Claim With SafetyWing
Making a claim with SafetyWing is very similar to making any travel insurance claim – just follow these simple steps!
- Make sure you keep all receipts.
- Fill out the claim form.
- Upload the form with copies of your receipts.
- Wait for confirmation.
- You can follow the progress of your claim on Tokio Marine’s Client Zone. Make an account for this using your SafetyWing Policy ID.
- Once your claim is approved, you’ll be reimbursed.
If you’ve already cancelled your insurance, make sure you file the claim within 60 days of the policy ending!
SafetyWing Frequently Asked Questions
Why is SafetyWing so cheap?
SafetyWing have managed to keep their costs low in several ways.
Firstly, their Nomad Insurance policy is a standalone policy with no confusing add-ons or extras.
Secondly, SafetyWing’s single policy is pretty basic in terms of what you are covered for.
Finally, rather than working with multiple insurance partners to make sure you are covered across the globe, SafetyWing work with just one, the Japanese insurance giant, Tokio Marine. By working with just one partner, rather than juggling 10-20 different firms as some companies do, SafetyWing save precious man-hours focussing on other tasks.
How do I cancel SafetyWing insurance?
To cancel your SafetyWing policy, log into your account and click the ‘stop insurance’ button. This will prevent the policy from auto-renewing, stopping your coverage at the end of the current 28-day period.
Is SafetyWing insurance sufficient for international travel?
Yes, SafetyWing insurance is sufficient for international travel. Their policies are built by travellers for travellers and offer general cover for the most important aspects of your trip. Remember to always check the policy details for the most up-to-date information.
Can I purchase SafetyWing insurance for just one trip?
Yes, you can purchase SafetyWing insurance for a single trip. SafetyWing insurance is a rolling monthly policy, so you can cancel the insurance as soon as you return home from your trip.
Is SafetyWing insurance available for travellers from all countries?
SafetyWing’s insurance coverage is available to travellers from most countries, however, you’ll need to check their terms and conditions to ensure they offer cover for you!
Is SafetyWing’s Insurance Available for Business or Cooperate Travel?
Yes, SafetyWing offer insurance coverage for business travel. However, you should read the terms and conditions to ensure it’s suitable for your needs.
A Round-Up – Is SafetyWing Insurance Worth It?
The main thing to remember when comparing SafetyWing to other travel insurers is that they are still a for-profit insurance company. Their primary goal is to make money.
However, if you’ve properly read the policy wording and understand what you’re getting, you could do much worse than getting your insurance through them.
SafetyWing are consistently rated close to 4.5 on Trustpilot which is high for an insurance company. True Traveller has a higher rating but comes at a higher cost and World Nomads, who tend to be more expensive are consistently rated lower.
Most poor reviews from customers of SafetyWing are from people who didn’t read their description of coverage properly and didn’t understand what they were getting. However, there are a few reports of SafetyWing being very slow to reply to people’s claims, queries or concerns and some reports of customers being completely unable to get in touch with the company.
Despite one-third of customers reporting a less-than-excellent experience with SafetyWing, their Nomad Insurance policy is still a solid choice for backpackers and digital nomads. Coverage is pretty basic, so if you need specialised insurance you’ll need to consider other options.
On the whole, with their great rates, decent cover and unrivalled flexibility, it’s easy to see how SafetyWing are quickly becoming a traveller favourite. Their Nomad policy is a solid choice for digital nomads, backpackers and long-term travellers.
If you like what you've read about SafetyWing, you can get yourself set up with a policy in minutes!
Have you used SafetyWing? Let us know your experience in the comments!